October is breast cancer awareness month. To celebrate, I made an appointment for my annual mammogram. Well, not exactly. Actually, I found a small lump the size of a pea under my left armpit while showering. It freaked me out; especially since I’d recently interviewed a high school senior who had found a lump on her breast and had to go through both an ultrasound and then a biopsy to finally discover, thankfully, that it was benign.
I wasn’t going to play around and silently hope it would go away. I got dressed and called my gynecologist’s office. This was on Monday, and they gave me an appointment for Thursday. It turns out my last (and first) mammogram was actually almost three years ago! Yes, I’m not proud of my procrastination. In fact, I was thinking at that moment what a dumb thing for me to do to sit around and wait for something bad to happen before I decided to go back for a screening.
By Thursday, the pea lodged under my arm had all but disappeared. My doctor couldn’t even find it, but we went ahead and checked everything starting with my annual (three years later) pap smear. Oh joy! Nothing like a cold speculum shoved into my cobwebbed, spider-infested bat cave. That’s okay. It was worth it to see the look on my doc’s face when the bats flew out! I joke.
He ordered a screening mammogram. A week later, I found myself hanging by my left boob while trying to make small talk with my x-ray tech. Holly was very nice, but I was ever so conscious about the fact that I standing there in jeans and flip-flops while she pulled, twisted, pounded, and rolled out my double Ds between two transparent plastic plates. No woman should ever have to see her tatas flattened like hot cakes! It’s shocking.
I told her if my “girls” stayed like that I was going to be really mad at her! This is when I realized why I hadn’t bothered to go back for another annual mammogram. It’s torture.
Having one’s boobs mashed like potatoes hurts. Worse, the machine is designed to put a Texas Twister on you that leaves you balancing on tippy toes while hanging by one breast at a time and praying your foot doesn’t slip out from under you.
Then they get radiated. Have we learned nothing from Chernobyl and Fukushima? I mean, who wants mutant mammaries? I find it unbelievable that modern medicine uses the one thing known to cause cancer to detect cancer!
Finally, it’s over and I can cover my hush puppies with the lovely blue hospital gown. No longer must I endure having a strange woman knead my boobs like dough; at least not for another year. And I can finally put some deodorant on. Sheesh.
For all I complain, prevention is the best medicine. Breast cancer strikes 1 in 8 women who will develop this often fatal disease in their lifetime. The best way to battle breast cancer is to be proactive. Women should take the time to do monthly breast checks in the shower where it is easiest to slide fingers around the skin and detect lumps or abnormalities. Hey, make it more fun and have your lover lend a helping hand. I’m sure you’ll get no objections, and the caring gesture can increase the bond of intimacy. (This sounds like the beginning of a great story for Sssh.com!) Make sure to also begin getting annual mammograms once your turn 40. Don’t wait like I did. Don’t be lazy, and don’t be put off by the 15 minute boob-lynching. It’s for a good cause and can save your life. As for me…I was lucky. No problems. I’m all set for another year of healthy bosoms.
FYI: Under the new healthcare law, pap smears and mammograms are considered “preventative” and are, therefore, covered at 100% on medical insurance policies. So no excuses! Make your appointment today and show your boobs some love!
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